Selectmen ask to see more on Waveny elevator plan
NEW CANAAN — A committee created to oversee renovation efforts at Waveny House has chosen a location for an elevator, but the design and look of the device itself is still in the works.
Superintendent of Buildings Bill Oestmann requested the town enter into a contract with NDA Architects, an interior design firm based in White Plains, N.Y., for work on the project.
The renovation committee, formed May 22, was tasked with recommending plans to make the house compliant with the American with Disabilities Act to the Board of Selectmen within 90 days of appointment.
The committee voted to have the elevator installed in the open grand stairway of Waveny House.
Some selectmen, however, wanted to see more about the elevator, before approving the $175,525 request to enter into a contract with NDA Architects.
“I’m kind of surprised that (the committee) didn’t come and give a report to the selectmen,” Selectman Kit Devereaux said. “I don’t think I can vote on this until I see something of what came out of the committee.”
Selectman Nick Williams agreed, saying he wanted to see options.
Oestmann said the committee would report to both the Board of Selectmen and the Town Council before any construction is carried out, which is tentatively scheduled to occur during the winter months.
Oestmann noted the design phase “should take 90 days or so” and that a construction schedule would be crafted soon.
First Selectman Kevin Moynihan suggested the board approve the Public Works’ request, contingent on the committee returning in two weeks to report to the selectmen.
The Waveny renovation project saw a $1 million allocation approved by the Town Council for the current fiscal year. Many proponents of a birdcage elevator — expected to come at a price tag of $500,000 — say it would adhere to the house’s historical and architectural style while also making it ADA compliant.
Committee members include Bill Holmes, Sally Campbell, Amy Carroll, Carl Rothbart, Cristina Ross, Marty Skrelunas and Penny Young.
“In terms of the birdcage elevator, for someone with disabilities, how would such an elevator work?,” Devereaux asked Lea Cromwell and Mitchell Levy, NDA representatives at the meeting.
Cromwell said the elevator would work like the one at Town Hall, where a button need only be pressed once for the passenger to be taken to their destination.
As an added precaution, the state ultimately has to approve the elevator design to ensure it meets ADA code, Oestmann said.
Though the committee was originally created for 90 days, it may see its lifetime extended as the design phase continues.
“(The committee is) doing to work on design of the elevator,” Moynihan said. “We’re approving continuing the work keeping in mind that the committee will keep on through the design phase.”